Dotmatics leader shares insights on the future of life science informatics

By Samantha Black, PhD, ScienceBoard editor in chief

February 25, 2022 -- Robert Brown, vice president worldwide presales at Dotmatics, shares his experiences at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) 2022 International Conference and Expo with ScienceBoard.

Robert Brown, senior vice president, worldwide presales, Dotmatics.
Robert Brown, senior vice president, worldwide presales, Dotmatics.

What was your favorite part of SLAS 2022?

Seeing people face to face!! After two years of virtual events, it was great to see such a high in-person attendance at the meeting. It reinforced that there is no substitute for meeting our customers (and future customers) face-to-face when trying to understand what they do, how we can help them, and to be able to network with industry experts to understand their problems to guide our future development.

Tell us about the work that Dotmatics is doing.

In 2021, Dotmatics combined with Insightful Science to create a unique company that has both a enterprise research informatics solutions as well as a portfolio of best in class applications such as Graphpad Prism, Snapgene, Geneious, Protein Metrics, OMIC and many more. Together, we are building a digital science platform that provides the first true end-to-end solution for scientific R&D, combining an open data informatics framework with highly focused tools for data analysis, genomics, flow cytometry, and more. This enables users and leaders at all levels in an organization to turn data into insights at speed and make better decisions faster for their therapeutics or materials development.

What major challenges do you see for data informatics and laboratory research as it relates to data? Potential solutions?

One of the biggest challenges is the growth in scale and diversity of automated laboratory processes, for an ever-increasing array of equipment, which then results in an unprecedented volume and complexity of data. Simply gathering all this data in one coherent repository is a huge challenge in itself, and having done that then there is the challenge of turning it into consumable data (whether for scientists or AI analytics). So, data automation is as important as lab automation to fully realize the investment in the latter.

A solution lies in the next generation of lab data automation application, like the BioBright system from Dotmatics, or similar systems from other vendors. These can collect the data automatically from an entire fleet of diverse instruments, secure the data in the cloud, parse out and standardize data and metadata from the diverse and often proprietary inputs, and then serve that data up to scientists in dashboards or electronic laboratory notebooks (ELNs,) or to artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) applications for accelerated decision making.

What do you see for informatics? What new technologies do you find exciting?

At Dotmatics, we feel that companies are in the middle of a generational replacement of legacy informatics systems. Many organizations have built up a large technical debt of legacy in house applications such as ELNs, laboratory information management system (LIMS), and decision support systems, with costly, complex, and fragile integrations, that may be limited in the scientific scope. These are rapidly being superseded by solutions from the next generation of informatics vendors that provide cloud-hosted, end-to-end solutions that support the ever increasing diversity of therapeutics, externalized collaborative research models, and incorporate the latest technologies, such as AI/ML methods for capturing and analyzing todays research data.

What innovations are in the pipeline at Dotmatics? What's next?

We are building out solutions that combine our informatics and lab data automation platform with our best of breed applications, like Graphpad Prism, Snapgene, Geneious, Protein Metrics, OMIC. These will address critical informatics and decision support workflows in pharmaceutical discovery and development as well as chemicals/materials innovation. It’s incredibly rewarding to be working on innovations that will span a breadth of science that will apply to the discovery of small molecule and biologic entities as well as formulated products.

Since joining the company in 2015 Brown has built product marketing and product management teams with a focus on customer-led product development. With over 20 years of experience in the scientific informatics industry, Robert is ideally positioned to identify key industry trends that will help R&D groups on their informatics journey to the Lab of the Future.

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